Feds’ appeal of CWB ruling gets court date

A Federal Court ruling criticizing the federal government’s legislation to end the Canadian Wheat Board’s single marketing desk for Prairie grains will go to appeal three weeks from now.

The Federal Court of Appeal will hear the federal government’s appeal of Justice Douglas Campbell’s December 2011 ruling at 9:30 a.m. on May 23 in Ottawa.

Campbell’s ruling had been sought in two separate filings for judicial review, one by the CWB itself and the other by a farmer group, Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board.

While Campbell’s ruling did not specifically call a halt to the progress of Bill C-18, the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, it did describe the legislation’s proposed changes as "an affront to the rule of law."

The CWB and FCWB had sought Campbell’s opinion of C-18 as it related to section 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act. C-18 was written to amend and, eventually, repeal the Act.

Section 47.1 is the piece of the CWB Act requiring a producer vote and consultation with the CWB’s directors before changes can be made to the CWB’s marketing mandate.

Campbell ruled that 47.1 contains conditions known in law as "manner and form" procedural requirements, which legally bind the development of any future legislation.

The Winnipeg judge defended 47.1 as a rule that "speaks to the unique situation in which… democratic values are already implemented in the structure of the CWB… Not adhering to these values is not only disrespectful, it is contrary to law."

Campbell added, however, that the validity and effects of any legislation C-18 might make into law were "not at issue in the (CWB and FCWB) applications."

Nevertheless, the federal government said in December that it would appeal Campbell’s ruling, adding it is "convinced that Parliament has the right to end the (CWB’s) single desk monopoly."

Related stories:
Federal judge rips Ritz’s plans for CWB reform, Dec. 7, 2011
Man. court rejects ex-CWB directors’ bid to halt C-18, Feb. 24, 2012

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